I've noticed these guys in the garden for years but never bothered to find out what they are. They are bright red, move with great speed, have a single body, and 8 legs.


Seems it's actually a whirligig mite which is supposed to be a predatory insect that eats mites and aphids, and possibly scale insects.

What role do they have in pest management in a home garden? Should I move them to aphid or pysllid infested plants?

I found them roaming amongst the carrots and what's left of the potatoe leaves.

1 Answer 1


Whirligig mites will eat whatever is small enough for them to catch and pierce with their mouthparts, when they suck out the contents of the body of whatever it is they've caught, usually aphids and so on. They are a reasonably useful predator for small insects and shouldn't be discouraged or killed, but I wouldn't worry about moving them where you want them - a hungry insect (or in this case, mite) will roam far and wide looking for food, and if you put them where you want them, they will make their own choice about where they want to be anyway - it'll be wherever the pickings are easy and rich enough for them to stay for a while (much like any other living thing, including us). Link below briefly describes the life cycle


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    @Bulrush - sorry, not understanding what you think the problem is. The photo up top shows a whirligig mite - the link shown in my answer leads to a small amount of information about the whirligig mite. Am I missing something here, becaues I've not mentioned the aquatic predator, the link doesn't mention it, and the question doesn't mention it. Not sure why anyone would think of the aquatic version anyway, since its shown on a leaf. Can you clarify please, since you downvoted the answer?
    – Bamboo
    Apr 20, 2016 at 15:56
  • My apologies. What you described also matches a "whirligig beetle" that lives on top of the water and goes round and round and round when disturbed. I was confused. :) I like aquatic invertebrates so my brain uses that context when thinking about this topic. So naturally I thought "whirligig beetle that lives on top of the water". :)
    – Bulrush
    Apr 21, 2016 at 11:39

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